China's Special Representative to Darfur
Date of Birth: 01/08/1945
Place of Birth: Shadong Province
Liu Guijin is in an unenviable position. As China’s
Envoy to Africa,
he must balance its often contradictory priorities: on one hand, China
claims the internal affairs of its African business partners are none
of its business; on the other hand, it has a seat on the United Nations
Security Council, which has increasingly made Sudan’s
conflict its business.
He has dropped some clangers along
‘I didn’t see a desperate scenario of people dying
hunger,’ he announced after visiting Darfur in May 2008. In
in response to questions about Chinese arms deals with
government, Liu told CNN: ‘If I am selling a knife, I cannot
ensure that my client will not use the knife for murder, even though
this is not my intention.’ Yet he has also taken much credit
getting Khartoum to accept the deployment of the UN-African Union
Mission to Darfur (UNAMID) and regularly meets representatives of the
UN, AU and United States.
Liu joined the Foreign Ministry in 1972,
and during the next 25 years alternated diplomatic postings in Africa
with stints back in Beijing, where he rose to the head of the African
Affairs department. He was an Attaché to Kenya and Ethiopia, and
Ambassador to Zimbabwe
(1995-1998) and South
Africa (2001-2007). He was
made Special Envoy in May 2007.
China has pledged a
engineering unit to the 26,000-strong UNAMID force. This tiny fraction
of the overall force has already attracted disproportionate attention:
two rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan
Liberation Movement, have stated their hostility to the Chinese
presence. If the Chinese unit is targeted, Liu’s dexterity
– and his country’s principle of noninterference
will be put to the test.
Vol 49 N0 5
SUDAN | CHINA
China is worried about the 'deadlock' in Darfur and is looking for new ideas, its Special Representative for Africa and Darfur, Liu Guijin, told a leading Sudanese civic activist in London last week...